Best Ways To Book Etihad First Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

Etihad First Class Apartment - Seat 3K

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When they released The Apartments, Etihad took first class flying to the next level. Considered by many to be the best first class experience in the world, The Apartments have come to define luxury flying.

Even on Etihad flights without The Apartments, you’ll still have a great first class suite and stellar first class lounge access.

Etihad first class is one flight experience you won’t want to miss!

A Look Inside Etihad First Class

Whether you fly in an Etihad first class suite or The Apartments, you’re going to have an amazing journey from the moment you set foot in the airport.

You can fly in the first class suite on several different aircraft including the Airbus A330 and A340, and the Boeing 777 and 787 (also known as the Dreamliner).

The Apartments are exclusive to the Airbus A380.

etihad guest first class suites
Enjoy a luxury experience in an Etihad first class suite.

With the first class suite, your comfortable, lie-flat seat has direct aisle access, and it is contained in your own suite complete with a refreshment cabinet, wardrobe, and privacy door.

Etihad First Class Apartment - Seat 3K
The Apartments on Etihad’s A380 are perhaps the best first class product in the world.

If you’re flying on the A380, you will enjoy Etihad’s premier first class product. Each Apartment comes with a wide, comfortable seat and a separate couch that converts into your bed.

Etihad First Class Apartment - Lie Flat Beds Made
Lie-flat beds are turned down with care by the Etihad Cabin Crew.

Your Apartment is definitely more of a room than a seat!

Etihad A380 Lobby
Relax and enjoy the company of your fellow premium cabin passengers at the in-flight lounge. Image courtesy of etihad.com.

You will also have access to an in-flight shower so you can feel refreshed upon arrival. Additionally, there’s an in-flight lounge where you can relax, have a bite to eat, and grab a drink with other first class and business class passengers.

etihad first class bar
Enjoy a drink or a bite to eat at the bar in the Etihad first class lounge. Image courtesy of etihad.com.

Before you board, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit the highly-rated Etihad First Class Lounge when flying out of their home airport in Abu Dhabi.

Additionally, you’ll have access to their premium lounges when departing from the U.S. and other cities around the world. Last but not least, Abu Dhabi also has a welcome lounge for you to enjoy upon arrival.

How To Book Etihad First Class

We’ve only just begun to look at why the Etihad first class experience is one of the most sought-after flights in the world.

Before we dig in some more, let’s talk about how you can book this awesome flight!

Etihad Guest

One of the easiest ways to fly Etihad First Class is online on their website. Image courtesy of etihadguest.com

Etihad’s own award program Etihad Guest is the most straightforward way to book Etihad award tickets, and it is the only way you can book this flight online.

To complete a booking online, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Etihad
  2. Select your route, travel dates, and class of service
  3. You will be prompted to log in
  4. Select your desired flight
    • You want to find Guest First award space (otherwise you will be overpaying!)
  5. Review the mileage cost and the taxes/fees
  6. Complete your first class booking

Here are some great example routes:

  1. New York City (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) non-stop one-way for 136,249 Etihad miles + ~$30 in taxes and fees in Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartments
  2. Los Angeles (LAX) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) non-stop round-trip for 310,002 Etihad miles + ~$97 in taxes and fees in Etihad’s 777 First Class
  3. Washington D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) non-stop round-trip for 272,502 Etihad miles + ~$97 in taxes and fees in Etihad’s 777 First Class

If you need more miles to complete a booking, Etihad has several credit card partners that can help you earn. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points or Citi ThankYou Points to your Etihad Guest account.

These points currencies can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers from Membership Rewards are generally almost instant, while transfers from Citi ThankYou Points can take up to a week.

Hot Tip: Check out our Transfer Partner Calculator in order to quickly determine the required number of points for your award!

If you’re looking for some more redemption ideas, check out our best ways to use Etihad miles!

Asiana Airlines Mileage Club

You can fly to the Middle East on Etihad Airways using Asiana Miles for some great prices! Image courtesy of flyasiana.com

Although using Asiana miles is not quite as straightforward as Etihad Guest, putting in the extra effort to call Asiana will definitely be worth it because it is the cheapest way to fly Etihad First Class.

So if you want to save your precious points, especially Marriott points, Asiana miles are a great way to do so.

Overall, it will cost you 160,000 miles round-trip or 80,000 miles one-way plus taxes and fees to travel from the U.S. to the Middle East.

If you have plenty of Marriott points or Asiana miles, follow these steps to book your Etihad First class flights:

  1. Navigate to Etihad Guest.
  2. Choose the route, first class, and your travel dates.
  3. Log into Etihad Guest. You may be prompted to enter a one-time password that is sent to your e-mail for verification purposes.
  4. Select the flight you want to take or click around the week calendar to look for availability around your best travel dates.
    • You want to find Guest First award space (otherwise you will be overpaying)
  5. Confirm the mileage cost and the taxes/fees.
    • When Guest First award space is not available, then you will see a ridiculous miles cost (900,000-1,000,000), which means this flight is unavailable for First Class award redemptions.
  6. Call Asiana Club at 1-800-227-4262 which is open 08:30-17:30 PST Monday to Friday and ask to hold the award reservation for up to 72 hours before transferring your Marriott points.
    • Sometimes, the agent won’t be willing to hold your flights. If that happens, politely hang up and call again and you should be able to get a representative to hold your flights.
  7. Transfer your Marriott points to Asiana Club.
  8. Confirm and reserve the tickets by calling Asiana Club back. Pay any applicable taxes and fees.

American Airlines AAdvantage

American Airlines Partner Award Chart
American Airlines miles can also be a great way to book first class on Etihad.

The American Airlines AAdvantage program was previously a favorite for many who had booked Etihad first class. However, in early 2016, American devalued their award chart and raised award prices.

While this was an unfortunate turn of events, American’s AAdvantage program can still be very useful. Unlike the Etihad Guest program, American requires you to book Etihad flights over the phone.

Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Visit Etihad’s website
  2. Select your route, travel dates, and class of service
  3. Find Guest First award space
    • To book with American miles, you must find Guest First availability on Etihad’s site
  4. Note the flight number, date, and time
  5. Call American Airlines’ Australian call center (+61-2-91011948) with Skype or Google Voice
  6. Ask them to search for first class award space on Etihad
    • You might have to provide the flight number
  7. Once they find the space, ask them to put the award on hold
    • Holds last 5 days
  8. Call the U.S.-based American Airlines call center at +1-(800)-882-8880 to complete your booking

You have many different options for redeeming AAdvantage miles, so don’t think using Etihad is your only choice!

Other Options For Booking Etihad

You can also book Etihad first class with Korean Air SkyPass and ANA Mileage Club

Note: on December 8, 2017, ANA suspended some awards on Etihad. Supposedly, codeshare routes can currently be booked. These codeshares are pretty limited; in fact, they’re virtually all short-haul flights within the Europe/Middle East region. There has been no subsequent updates on if/when full awards will resume.

Great Etihad First Class Redemptions

Etihad A380
Try The Apartments on Etihad’s Airbus A380. Image courtesy of traveller.com.au.

Generally, American Airlines will have better redemption rates than Etihad Guest. However, there are more ways to earn Etihad Guest miles, so that could be a good option for you as well.

One other important factor to consider is the fuel surcharges which can significantly increase the taxes and fees on an award ticket. Etihad will require you to pay these surcharges while American Airlines will not so your out of pocket costs will be lower with American.

Here are a few routes to consider if you want to try Etihad first class:

  • New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi one-way in The Apartments on the A380 for 80,000 Asiana miles, 115,000 American AAdvantage miles, or 136,249 Etihad Guest miles
  • Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi one-way in first class for 80,000 Asiana miles, 115,000 American AAdvantage miles, or 155,001 Etihad Guest miles
  • London to Abu Dhabi one-way in The Apartments for 40,000 Asiana miles, 62,500 American AAdvantage miles, or 87,750 Etihad Guest miles
  • Sydney to Abu Dhabi one-way in The Apartments for 110,000 Asiana miles, 100,000 American AAdvantage miles, or 136,249 Etihad Guest miles

How To Earn Enough Miles for Etihad First Class

Etihad Guest miles can be transferred American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You Rewards (both at a rate of 1:1) or from Marriott at a transfer rate of 3:1.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

Recommended Citi Cards

Recommended Marriott-SPG Cards

When Should You Search for Award Space?

Etihad does not consistently release first class award space at a specific time. The sooner you have your travel dates narrowed down, the more luck you’ll have booking. While you might not find award space immediately, check back regularly.

What Do You Get With Etihad First Class?

Let’s talk a bit more about what you get during the Etihad first class experience.

First Class Lounge

Etihad First Class Apartment - Sydney Lounge
The First and Business Class Lounge at Sydney Airport.

In Abu Dhabi, you will have access to their exclusive first class lounge that includes a fully staffed bar with a wide selection of wine and spirits. You can also order food from the bar menu or head to the dining room for a sit-down meal.

If that weren’t enough, you can also utilize the Six Senses Spa and Style & Shave. As a first class passenger, you will have your choice of a complimentary massage, facial, wet shave, nail, or blow dry service.

You can also enjoy a nice cigar at the cigar lounge. If you’re a cigar lover, grab a beer or your favorite whiskey, sit back, relax, and enjoy a smoke.

Etihad also provides a first and business class lounge at 9 other airports: Dublin, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, New York (JFK), Paris, Sydney, and Washington, D.C. They also partner with other lounges at airports across the globe.

First Class Dining

Etihad First Class Apartment - Dining Appetizer Duck
Enjoy a fine-dining experience at 30,000 feet.

From fine dining in the Etihad First Class Lounge to your in-flight meals, you won’t be disappointed with any of the food during your first class experience.

Your first class flight includes on-demand dining so you can choose what to eat and when you want to have it. The dining experience in first class is definitely built around your enjoyment!

First Class Shower

Etihad First Class Shower
Enjoy a refreshing shower when you fly first class on Etihad’s A380. Image courtesy of ausbt.com.au.

Finally, don’t forget to schedule your in-flight shower when flying The Apartment on the Airbus A380. The only other way to experience an in-flight shower is when flying Emirates first class, so don’t pass up this rare and exclusive opportunity!

Your shower includes 5 minutes of water with an easy pause control so you can wash without wasting water (or time). Once you are ready to rinse, you can turn on the water back on.

It might not sound like much time, but you can easily end up with 2 minutes to just relax in the water before your time is up.

If you’re connecting and didn’t get time to visit the first class lounge, maybe you’d like to shower early in the flight before getting settled in to sleep. Or perhaps this is your first flight of the day, and you’d rather shower toward the end of your flight so you’re refreshed upon arrival.

Either way, Etihad has you covered! Make sure to schedule your shower as soon as you board to ensure the time slot you want is available.

Unfortunately, Etihad cut their chaffeur service for all award flights, including those booked with their own miles.

Final Thoughts

It’s no wonder Etihad first class is a highly sought after ticket! The Apartments might just be the best first class product in the sky right now.

Whether you’re in an apartment or suite, Etihad’s first class is a luxury experience all the way through. Take advantage of fine dining, amazing service, and more space than imaginable in The Apartments. You’ll have more fun flying than ever before!

Now, go find Etihad award space and book your next adventure!

*Featured image courtesy of cntraveler.com

FAQ

What is the best way to book Etihad first class?

The easiest way to book Etihad award flights is through the Etihad Guest program. It is the only program that allows you to book online.

However, you can book using fewer miles through the American Airlines AAdvantage program.

What credit cards can help me earn miles to fly Etihad first class?

Etihad miles can be earned through cards in the American Express Membership Rewards Loyalty Program or the Citi ThankYou Rewards Loyalty Program.

What do I get when flying Etihad first class?

When you fly Etihad first class on the Airbus A380, you’ll enjoy the largest first class suite in the sky.

You can also take an in-flight shower and have a drink or a snack at the in-flight lounge.

Before your flight, you can relax with a drink or a cigar at the first class lounge. Don’t forget to get a shave, haircut, or massage!

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2 comments

  1. How far in advance do you need to book etihad 1st class?

    • Michael McHugh · June 12, 2018 · Reply

      Hi TM

      I would look close-in (JFK to get the award inventory to from JFK>AUH to show up.

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